Biden’s ‚Message of Hope‘: EU ‚Rejoices‘ as US Returns to Climate Deal and WHO

Written by | Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday (20 January) represents an opportunity to bolster the “transatlantic bond,” said German MEP and EPP leader Manfred Weber. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, on her part, praised Biden’s oath as a “message of healing for a deeply divided nation”, but also as a “message of hope for a world that is waiting for the US to be back in the circle of like-minded states”. Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament on Wednesday, Leyen stressed that EU-US leadership is needed to “address the many global challenges which need renewed and improved global cooperation.” The inauguration of the 46the president of the United States came after the riots and storming of the US Capitol by some of Donald Trump’s hard-line supporters in an attempt to overturn the results of the election.
Also European Parliament President David Sassoli called for “a strong relationship between Europe and the United States,” as President Joe Biden began his first full day in office, focusing on the task of overturning many of his predecessor’s actions by signing a host of executive orders, including rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization, as well as lifting a travel ban against some Muslim-majority countries. Amid exuberant praise from EU leaders following Biden’s reversal on Trump’s policies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there is a broader scope to work together with Washington now under the new administration. However, Merkel also cautioned that with Biden in office “we can’t now just count on political agreement” but said there will be “discussions about how we do things well for both countries”.
There had certainly been a “sigh of relief” from Merkel and most of the other EU leaders following Trump’s departure because they at least seen Biden as a partner whom they can negotiate with. Hence Merkel underlined the need for Europe to assume a greater share of responsibility militarily, diplomatically and in other areas in its relationship with the US, concluding that “we’re ready for it” and adding that cooperation was “based again on a broader foundation of common conviction”. Merkel’s relations with Trump were tense and frosty during his four years in the White House, with Germany-US relations plummeting, as Trump repeatedly slammed Berlin, for example, for being “delinquent” in its contribution to NATO. Trump also approved a plan in June 2020 to withdraw 9,500 US troops from Germany, blaming the country for failing to meet the defence spending target and accusing Berlin of taking advantage of Washington on trade.

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